When the adult children of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease must choose a senior care community, they might be intrigued by one offering pet therapy. This resonates with the family because their elderly parent has always loved animals. Along with nursing care for people with Alzheimer’s dementia in Fort Mill, SC, pet therapy adds an extra benefit that can have significant positive effects.
Specially Trained Companion Animals
For direct interaction with memory care residents, specially trained companion animals are usually required. Most commonly, dogs are brought to the community, but cats might participate as well.
Easing Anxiety and Boosting Mood
Stroking a dog’s or cat’s fur is calming. Doing so can ease anxiety and generate a sense of contentment. The person also feels a mood boost when giving the animal a treat and sees the happy response. Pet therapy is helpful for patients who have become depressed since developing cognitive problems or moving away from home.
Pet therapy might involve activities that provide some exercise for the residents. The animals enjoy being brushed, for example. Dogs might like to chase and bring back a ball or other toy that the residents throw. Some dogs find tug-of-war games to be fun. Men and women who are mobile enough could participate in walking dogs around the grounds.
Increased Social Interaction
When a companion animal is brought to visit, social interaction increases among community residents with Alzheimer’s dementia in Fort Mill, SC. Researchers refer to the animal as a social catalyst. Guests to the community also are more likely to engage in conversation with dementia patients when a dog or cat is there.